Jim McBride purchased his first Hayward Green, 3 hectare, tee bar orchard in September 1978.
Jim’s son, Murray, took up the opportunity to build a life and business within the industry, which led to the development of multiple orchards and a management company called BAYGOLD Ltd.
With around 40 permanent employees, currently another 40 employed for picking under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) programme and four contracting companies with a couple of hundred staff between them BAYGOLD provides significant employment in the region.
Today BAYGOLD manages approximately 250 hectares of kiwifruit orchards, the majority of which fall under a JV partnership company.
We spoke with Keiran Harvey, Producing Orchard Manager, who is responsible for 105 hectares of Gold3 variety orchards.
BAYGOLD has four FrostBoss® C49 frost fans, which are used in combination with water for frost protection.
Keiran explains “the fans are positioned in the more vulnerable, colder, low spots in the orchards and we use them as our first line of defence against frosts. We had three consecutive frosts earlier in the week and only used the fans.
With all the fruit now off the plants, the main objective at this time of the year is to protect the plant internals. At -3°c or lower, the Psa risk becomes much greater and can cause the trunks to blow out on the young plants.”
With the Gold3 variety licenses selling for a median price per hectare of $270,000 in the latest round of licence release and average per-hectare returns increasing by close to 40% in 2015/16, there’s now a greater incentive to manage the risk of cold injury and invest in frost protection.
For more information about BAYGOLD, go to www.baygold.co.nz